A jewelry brand has officially shut down business after receiving a ton of backlash from social media and consumers.
Paul Chelmis and Jing Wen went viral after the public learned they’d created bracelets, necklaces, and more using shattered glass from Charleston protests. The line, “Wear Their Names,” is a play on the “Say Their Names” Black Lives Matter slogans. The collection featured the names of victims of police violence and systemic racism and to make matters twice as bizarre, different names had different price points.
Paul Chelmis and Jing Wen have released a statement addressing concerns, according to Complex, who states their website has been shut down.
“Just want to say we’ve heard the feedback from the community loud and clear and are taking it seriously. So sorry to those we offended or harmed,” the pair reportedly said. “While our intentions were pure and we consulted with a wide variety of people before launching, it is clear that there are issues with the approach we took. Though we only wanted to honor the victim’s names and retell their story, we see now that using those names was inappropriate and in poor taste. The two of us started this project from a place of creativity and in good faith, with a sense of duty to do our part and help the movement by bringing funds and awareness — and through all the backlash we want to keep sight of that duty and move forward on the best path.”
“It seems a lot of confusion was based around the profits — some didn’t like the organization we chose, while others didn’t see that we were donating 100% of our profits, and others felt even then we were only doing it for credit,” they continued. “… We want to make things right. Thank you for holding us accountable. Nothing but respect for our activist community. We’ve been out there shouting in the streets as well. We will continue to listen if anyone has any further thoughts.”
Complex states that while the website and project have been permanently shut down, Chelmis and Wen say they plan to fulfill “all orders that were placed prior to the move. They also told customers they would honor returns and refunds as they reassess what to do with the profits.”
Just yesterday, we reported on Ahmaud Arbery’s mom speaking out against people using her son’s name for personal gain. Read that story here.